WITH some of the country’s most prestigious and historic hunt clubs now effectively on ‘shank’s mare’ themselves thanks to the current insurance crux, all is yet far from lost with many fine minds concentrating on solutions and quietly confident of a positive outcome to this problem before Christmas.

It may well be that hunt clubs will contribute to a self-funding scheme that will be administered by a licenced insurance company. Much work is ongoing behind the scenes and those centrally involved believe that a good outcome can be achieved in a timely fashion. We will be bringing you all the latest news on this issue as it unfolds.

Whatever happens, it looks certain that the curse of the spurious ‘compo culture’ that has been allowed prevail for so long here – relatively unchallenged by insurance companies, the judiciary and our politicians – is finally starting to go into a tailspin, and not before time.

It goes without saying that any genuine life-changing accidents or tragic deaths of course must be dealt with properly, ensuring the very best outcome for those families unfortunate enough to be involved.

However, to ensure the continuance of equestrian sport and hunting, waivers will have to be legally strengthened for a start. It may well require a change in the law here and that’s where our politicans can play a key role. Riders of all ages – and the parents of those under 18 – should, and most likely will, be obliged to take independent legal advice on indemnity.

Meanwhile, news of Horse Sport Ireland’s new insurance scheme for members – see story on these pages – is another positive move in the right direction. Doubtless it will help people put their foot into the stirrup in the knowledge that they have been proactive on this thorny issue.